I was taking my cycle to the ‘Fitness Through Travel’ to get it lubed properly for the race on Sunday. As I passed the playground near 19th Main (BTM Layout), I noticed a young woman in filthy clothes lying unconscious near the grills of the ground. A lot of young men were playing in the ground, paying no attention to her. Everyone was just glancing at her and moving away with the assumption that she was drunk.
I too started moving away, but then I noticed dried blood around her foot. I felt bad, went near her and woke her up. She woke up with a start and pointed to her leg saying she can’t get up, due to the pain in her leg. She was shivering and speaking incoherently about some auto dropping her there.
Two women who worked as maids in nearby houses stopped by. They spoke to her in Tamil and came to know that someone promised food to her, molested and dropped her there. She also mentioned that a car ran over her left foot later in the night. She had been lying there since then.
Helping hands were many
We asked her about her home, she said she has no father, and her mother sells ‘Sunna’ (limestone) at the market. She also sounded emotionally weak. Or was it just the trauma? I’m not sure. I called up a few friends to know if there was any organisation that addresses such problems.
We were thinking of putting her in an auto to take her to a doctor. A man stopped by now, who was willing to help. Then another woman, Pushpalatha, who works in an IT company stopped by. She volunteers at an NGO and had NIMHANS remand home’s number. She made a quick call to figure out if we can take her to NIMHANS. They suggested that since it is a potential criminal case, we get the police involved, who would admit her there.
I called my cycling friend Bhaskar Rao who is a senior official in Police Department. He suggested we call the local police station who should be able to help. I called the BTM Layout police station (080-22942569) and explained the situation. They took down my name and number and said they will send someone soon. I was a bit skeptical.
Within a few minutes, Inspector Nanje Gowda, along with Hoysala driver Anthony Raja, came to the spot. They asked her some questions and took down all our names, numbers and addresses. They also had a stretcher-like equipment in Hoysala. We all lifted her into the vehicle. They said they will take her to the hospital with a woman constable, dress up the wounds and take the necessary steps. We all were happy at the promptness of the response, and went our ways.
Pushpalatha called me up in the evening. We wondered if we should have gone with her to make sure she is treated properly. We had not heard from the police after this, hence wondered if she was in safe hands. So I called up the police and sought details.
Inspector Nanje Gowda told us that the woman constable and a policeman took the woman to a hospital and the hospital folks ruled out any sexual assault. They dressed her wounds and she apparently had the disease of epilepsy (fits) as well, for which they gave her the appropriate medicine.
Miraculously a Muslim couple came to the same hospital and recognised her as the daughter of a woman who is limestone vendor at Kalasipalyam market. Police called a local shop in that area, located her mother and spoke to her. The poor woman could not speak properly over phone, so the police went in a police vehicle and reunited the mother and daughter.
Later Bhaskar Rao also confirmed these facts. A big part of the credit should go to Nanje Gowda and Anthony Raja of BTM layout police station.
So it all ended up somewhat as a happy story. I have decided to gather more useful phone numbers and keep them handy in the phone.
Nevertheless, I feel tinges of optimism for two reasons:
1) After I took the first step, lot of people stopped by to help.
2) Systems do work sometimes and are simple enough for anyone to work with.
Well done, Manjula. You have set a great example to many of us who are wary of being involved.It is heartening and inspiring to know that it can end well.
Nice to read that this ended well. Reminded me of an incident many years ago when I was still in college. I recall seeing two people lying on the road and bleeding profusely near ASC Centre South, just opposite the “Pakistani tank”. Every one was walking or driving past. I stopped my car and after that people started crowding. Someone asked if I was the one who hit them. I suggested we take them to the hospital, so they were lifted into my car and one man from the crowd came along. We went to the nearby Philomenas Hospital, and took them to emergency. Then this man told me that we had done our bit and suggested that we leave. So that is what we did. He was worried we would get caught as the culprits of the accident. The two men were conscious and may have suffered fractures or other injuries that were not very threatening. People are still apprehensive about helping accident and other stray victims.